Lorine's cabin water lily

2009 Presenters

Sarah Busse

Sarah Busse lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and two children. She is the co-editor of the poetry magazine Verse Wisconsin. Her poetry has appeared in journals both online and print, including most recently Mezzo Cammin, Poet Lore, Dogwood and The Dark Horse. Her chapbook, Quiver, was published in 2009 by Red Dragonfly Press.

Rod Clark

Rod Clark has been a Wisconsin-based writer and editor most of his life. Raised in Madison, he attended UW Madison where he earned a degree in English and a Schubert Playwriting Fellowship in1971. While at the UW, he was active in small press poetry circles, founding Albatross Press, and studying poetry writing under George Barker and Gwendolyn Brooks. His poems have appeared in Abraxas, Wisconsin Academy Review, Rosebud, among other places. He also worked extensively as a journalist for many Madison magazines and newspapers, including Isthmus, In Business, City Lights, and many others. He wrote and produced 10 plays at Broom Street Theater where he is still a life time member. He did radio journalism at WORT , where he earned a Milwaukee Press award in 1982. He also worked on stories for National Public Radio in the 80's, freelancing pieces for THE MORNING EDITION and ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. He has worked as a literary editor for a number of Publishers including Mercury House, and August Derleth's old company, Stanton & Lee. He has been Editor-In Chief of a number of magazines, including Prime Times, and Life Today. He was the charter editor of Rosebud Magazine and has been publisher as well for the past eight years. He is also a graduate of the Writer’s Workshop at San Francisco State University. He lives with his wife Melanie, dog Morley, and cat Lesley in a 120 year old farmhouse in the country near Rockdale, Wisconsin.

Cathy Cook

Cathy Cook has been creating Films, Videos, Poetry Films and Installations since 1982. Immortal Cupboard was screened this year at the 2009 Wisconsin Film Festival where it won a Jury Award. It recently screened at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC and is part of the 2009 "Fall for the Book Festival."
Cook has exhibited her award-winning work extensively in both solo and group shows including screenings at MOMA and the Whitney Museum. In 2001, Cook was awarded a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. She has also received fellowships and grants from the New York State Council of the Arts, The Experimental Television Center, The Jerome Foundation (Film in the Cities) and the Wisconsin Arts Board. Cook's media works are in the permanent collections of the Donnell Library (NYC), Princeton University, National Library of Australia (Canberra) and the NYU Film Library, among others.
Currently Cook is an Associate Professor of Film/Video in Visual Arts at The University of Maryland - Baltimore County (UMBC.) She teaches Film/Video production, Animation, Writing and aesthetics. She holds a MFA in Film/Video and Women Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as well as BFA's in Inter-Arts and Fine Art. Prior to moving to Baltimore, Cook worked in New York City for eleven years as an Art Director in the Film/TV industry. While in NYC, she also taught Film/Video production and Animation at various New York area colleges.
Cook visits Wisconsin with her adventurous dog Sprocket as much as possible. Sprocket runs Cook's life as well as her production company!

Anne-Marie Cusac

Anne-Marie Cusac's poetry has appeared in Poetry, Iowa Review, TriQuarterly, The American Scholar, The Madison Review, and Crab Orchard Review.
Her first poetry book, The Mean Days (2001) was published by Tia Chucha Press and won the Posner Book Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers. Her second book of poems, Silkie, won the Many Mountains Moving book prize in 2007, and has been selected by the Wisconsin Library Association for Outstanding Achievement recognition in poetry.
A recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University and a Wisconsin Arts Board Individual Artist's grant, Cusac was for ten years an editor and investigative reporter for The Progressive magazine. Her investigative reporting there won several awards, including the prestigious George Polk Award. She is a professor in Communication at Roosevelt University, a contributing writer for The Progressive, and a member of the Huffington Post Blog team. Her nonfiction book, Cruel and Unusual: The Culture of Punishment in America, was published by Yale University Press in Spring 2009.

Susan Elbe

Susan Elbe is the author of Eden in the Rearview Mirror (Word Press) and a chapbook, Light Made from Nothing (Parallel Press). Her poems appear or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including Blackbird, MARGIE, The North American Review, Salt Hill, Smartish Pace, and A Fierce Brightness: Twenty-five Years of Women's Poetry (Calyx Books). Among her awards are the inaugural Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize (Calyx), the 2006 Lorine Niedecker Award, and a Rowland Foundation residency to the Vermont Studio Center. Susan has served on the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission and currently serves on the Council for Wisconsin Writers Board. You can learn more about her and her work at www.susanelbe.com.

Karl Elder

Karl Elder's ninth collection of verse, Gilgamesh at the Bellagio, recently won publication in The National Poetry Review Award Book Series. Among his honors are a Pushcart Prize; two appearances in The Best American Poetry; and the Chad Walsh, Lorine Niedecker, and Lucien Stryk Awards. He is Fessler Professor of Creative Writing and Poet in Residence at Lakeland College, near Sheboygan, where he edits and publishes Seems. Elder's The Houdini Monologues, in early stages of production as an audio book, appeared in Free Verse in 2008.


Fabu is Madison's Third Poet Laureate. Her poetry often focuses on children, women and African Americans. She has a book of poetry for children and youth, Poems, Dreams and Roses published by The Madison Arts Commission in September 2009, African American Life in Haiku to be published by Parallel Press in 2011 and an unpublished manuscript, In Our Own Tongues, that has been published in chapbook form. Her web address is www.artistfabu.com.

Chris Finc

Chris Fink is associate professor of English and creative writing at Beloit College and editor of the Beloit Fiction Journal. Since 2000, he has published more than twenty stories at various journals in the United States and Canada, as well as several poems and essays.

Susan Firer

Susan Firer's most recent book is Milwaukee Does Strange Things To People: New & Selected Poems 1979-2007. Her fourth book, The Laugh We Make When We Fall won the Backwaters prize. Her third book, The Lives Of The Saints And Everything, won the Cleveland State Poetry Center Prize and the Posner Award. Her work has appeared in many anthologies, including The Best American Poetry and most recently Irish American Poetry: The Eighteenth Century To The Present (Notre Dame University Press). She curates the online poetry page for ExpressMilwaukee.com, and is the current poet laureate of the city of Milwaukee.

Paul Hayes

Paul G. Hayes reported about environment, energy and natural sciences for The Milwaukee Journal from 1962 until 1987, and for Wisconsin, The Journal's Sunday magazine until 1995, the year The Journal merged with the Milwaukee Sentinel and he retired. While writing for Wisconsin, he often profiled outstanding Wisconsin citizens, including Lorine Niedecker, a story that concentrated on the years of her marriage to Al Millen, her most productive years as a poet. Hayes and his wife Philia live in Cedarburg where they raised two sons and where he continues to write.

Dawn Hunter

Dawn Hunter is a retired elementary teacher. In her retirement she has been able to follow her passion for the arts. Book arts are an important part of this passion and offer constant challenges and rewards.

Charlotte Johnston

Charlotte Johnston, teacher of Wisconsin Writers and Creative Writing, utilized the poems of Lorine Niedecker and other Wisconsin poets to further the concept of brevity and word choice in all writing. Charlotte is currently polishing her work for a book of poems, prose, and photos for publication in 2010.

Michael Kriesel

Widely-published poet and reviewer Michael Kriesel, 47, lives in the countryside near Wausau. His poems have appeared in The Progressive, North American Review, and Free Verse magazine. In 2003 he won the Wisconsin's top poetry award, the Lorine Niedecker Prize, from the Council for Wisconsin Writers. He's served on the state's Poet Laureate Commission, and is the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Conference Coordinator. Books include Chasing Saturday Night: Poems About Rural Wisconsin (marshrivereditions.com).
He holds a BS in Literature in English from the University of the State of New York and was a print / broadcast journalist in the navy from 1980 to 1990 at various locations around the world.

David Krump

David Krump has received several awards and fellowships, including the 2006 Ruth Lilly Fellowship from Poetry and the Poetry Foundation, the 2007 Lorine Niedecker Award, and the 2008 Poetry Foundation/Newberry Library Fellowship in American Poetry. His work appears in dozens of publications in the US and UK, including Colorado Review, Greensboro Review, Poetry, Poetry Review, and Verse.
He earned his M.St. from a very old university in England. Currently, he teaches poetry at Viterbo University and co-curates with William Stobb, as he has for six years, the monthly reading series at The Pump House Regional Arts Center. His play 5,000 Lbs. opens in February 2010 some distance from Broadway. His current projects include a poem that is 264 pages too long, three screenplays, and a nightmarish collection of one acts. He edits his life and the visual and literary art review Oranges & Sardines.

John Lehman

John Lehman is the founder and original publisher of Rosebud, a national magazine of short stories, poetry and illustration for people who enjoy good writing. He is the poetry editor of the Wisconsin People & Ideas as well as managing partner of Zelda Wilde Publishing. John was a finalist for the Wisconsin Poet Laureate position in 2004 and again in 2008. Dramatic readings of his plays, A Brief History of My Tattoo, The Jane Test and The Writer's Cave have been presented in Milwaukee and Madison. His collections of poetry include Acting Lessons, Shrine of the Tooth Fairy, Dogs Dream of Running and Shorts: 101 Brief Poems of Wonder and Surprise. His latest nonfiction books are America's Greatest Unknown Poet: Lorine Niedecker Reminiscences, Photographs, Letters and Her Most Memorable Poems and Everything is Changing: How to Gain Loyal Customers and Clients Quickly.
John grew up in Chicago but for the last twenty years he has lived with his wife, Talia Schorr, their four dogs and six cats in Rockdale, the smallest incorporated village in Wisconsin.

Mary Linton

Mary Linton is a wetland ecologist and poet from Fort Atkinson. As far as she is concerned, a day mucking about a fertile wetland could not be better spent. Her poetry has appeared in Appalachia, Aethlon, Blueline, Builder, Country Feedback Magazine, Friend's'Journal, HUMMINGBIRD, Poetry Motel, and Seeding the Snow.

Tom Montag

Wisconsin poet and essayist Tom Montag is most recently the author of The Big Book Of Ben Zen and The Idea Of The Local. He recently wrote the lyrics for 14 original train songs on Doc Abbick in Trinity's The Last Caboose cd. He blogs as The Middlewesterner.

Julie Schoessow

Julie Schoessow, Al Millens daughter, was a young mother when Lorine and Al married late in life, and she gradually became acquainted with Lorine at family gatherings. Julies special insights help illuminate Lorines later difficult but productive years.

Shoshauna Shy

Shoshauna Shy's poems have been published in numerous journals and magazines which include The Seattle Review, Cimarron Review, The Briar Cliff Review, Rattle, Rosebud and Poetry Northwest. She is the author of four collections of poetry, the most recent one titled What the Postcard Didn't Say was a recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association in 2008. Shoshauna works for the Wisconsin Humanities Council in Madison, Wisconsin and has helped create, coordinate and facilitate poetry programs for the annual Wisconsin Book Festival in downtown Madison each October.

Jason Smith

Jason A. Smith is editor of Wisconsin People & Ideas, the quarterly magazine of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. Originally from Waupaca, WI, Smith spent ten years in Chicago, working as project manager for The Common Review, the quarterly magazine of the Great Books Foundation, and on such Foundation anthologies as Modern American Poetry, The Civically Engaged Reader, and The Seven Deadly Sins Sampler. He lives in Madison with is wife, Liz.

Marilyn Taylor

Marilyn L. Taylor is Wisconsin's current Poet Laureate. Her award-winning poems have appeared in many literary journals, including Poetry, Measure, and The American Scholar. Her sixth and latest poetry collection, titled Going Wrong, was published by Parallel Press in July, 2009. Marilyn is a Contributing Editor for The Writer magazine, where her column on poetic craft appears bi-monthly. She served as Poet Laureate of Milwaukee in 2004 and '05.

Alison Townsend

Alison Townsend is the author of two poetry collections, Persephone in America (Southern Illinois University Press) and The Blue Dress (White Pine Press), as well as two limited edition chapbooks, And Still the Music (Flume Press) and What the Body Knows (Parallel Press). She teaches English, creative writing and women's studies at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and lives on four acres of prairie and oak savanna in the farm country outside Madison.

Wendy Vardaman

Wendy Vardaman, Madison, WI, has a Ph.D. in English from University of Pennsylvania. Co-editor of Verse Wisconsin (formerly Free Verse), her poems, reviews, and interviews have appeared in a variety of anthologies and journals, including Poetry Daily, Breathe: 101 Contemporary Odes, Riffing on Strings: Creative Writing Inspired by String Theory, Letters to the World, Poet Lore, qarrtsiluni, Mezzo Cammin, Nerve Cowboy, Free Verse, Wisconsin People & Ideas, Women's Review of Books, Rain Taxi Review, Rattle and Portland Review. She is the author of Obstructed View (Fireweed Press, 2009).